Gamecock Cream Ale

The city of Cumberland, Maryland is located along the Potomac River, and during its development was a key road, railroad and canal junction.  The city was referred to as “the metropolis of a very large rural area” due to its surrounding small towns and farming communities. At the turn of the century, it was commonplace to see an eclectic mix of white collar and blue collar workers all sitting in the same pub enjoying a local beer.

Cumberland’s location meant there was an ample supply of water, an abundance of surrounding farms to provide grain, and access to the railroad for other necessary supplies, all of which helped establish the two long-operating breweries in the city.

The very first brewery to be established in Cumberland was Bartle’s Brewery in 1852. Cumberland Brewing Company began operations in 1890, and enjoyed great success producing its two primary brews: Old Export and Gamecock.

In 1901, German Brewing Company entered the scene and provided competition for Cumberland. However, with the onset of World War I, German Brewing began to lose marketshare, so promptly changed its name to Queen City Brewing Company. The two breweries dominated the local industry throughout the Twentieth Century until Cumberland was bought out by its rival in 1958. However, Queen City was purchased by Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1970, and the last surviving brewery in Cumberland closed its doors in 1976.

As with many old brewery cities, there has been a revival in Cumberland, with one taking on the city’s namesake. However, you won’t be lucky enough to get your hands on a Gamecock Ale of any kind. If you are a can collector, though, you might be able to find a quality one in the $100-$150 range.